U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary announced today that the Justice Department is awarding more than $7.6 million to support public safety and community justice activities in the Middle District of Georgia. The grants, from the Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP), will help build community capacity to curb violence, serve victims and youth, improve behavioral health response, expand officer safety and support evidence-based juvenile justice strategies.
“These grants address many of the greatest concerns our citizens have today, which boil down to safer communities for all,” said U.S. Attorney Leary. “This kind of support for our community and law enforcement partners’ efforts goes hand in hand with our focused efforts to reduce violence and hold the most violent offenders accountable.”
15 grants for local community, civic, government and law enforcement groups in the cities of Albany, Americus, Athens, Butler, Columbus, Macon, Thomasville, Tifton and Warner Robins were announced for the Middle District of Georgia, including but limited to:
- Area Committee to Improve Opportunities Now, Inc., based in Athens, received $784,194 to supports its 36-county program providing employment coaching and mentoring for young people before and after their release from the criminal justice system.
- This WORKS, Inc., in partnership with the Dougherty County School System in Albany, received a $999,524 grant to provide a schoolwide behavioral health program, including antiviolence education.
- The Muscogee County School District in Columbus received a $998,567 grant to support its efforts to prevent group-based retaliatory violence with programs supporting educators and law enforcement.
- Columbus received $119,951 to purchase items in support of its law enforcement, including four ballistic vests, 64 protective stab vests for jail personnel, two K-9 units and a community-wide early warning smart phone app for emergency notification.
- Macon-Bibb received $385,000 to expand its domestic violence unit with an additional investigator and prosecutor.
- The Taylor County School District in Butler received $999,952 to improve school safety and increase access to mental health care for students.
- Thomasville received $437,185 to launch a law enforcement and mental health co-responder program to assist with real-time responses to community crises.
Georgia received 89 awards totaling $148 million dollars. More information about the awards announced today can be found by visiting www.ojp.gov/funding/fy23awards.
“Everyone in this country deserves to be safe in their communities,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “That is why, in addition to continuing our efforts to identify and prosecute the most violent criminals, the Justice Department is putting every available resource to work to support the efforts of our law enforcement and community partners nationwide. This significant investment will go directly to state and local programs that support the victims of crime, support officer safety and wellness, build the public trust in law enforcement essential to public safety and help make all of our communities safer.”
The more than 3,700 OJP grants being awarded this fiscal year will support state, local and community-based efforts and evidence-based interventions that reduce violence, crime and recidivism while delivering treatment and services to those at-risk of justice system involvement. Funding will expand partnerships between criminal justice professionals and behavioral health experts, help people safely and successfully transition from confinement back to their communities, reach crime victims in underserved areas, steer young people away from justice system contact, improve the management of sex offenders and support a wide range of research and statistical activities that will help justice system professionals meet community safety challenges.
“Across the country, the Justice Department is working side-by-side with our partners in state and local law enforcement to combat violent crime by using our federal resources to amplify their work on the front lines,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “The billions of dollars in grants announced today will augment those efforts and the tools law enforcement is using to curb violence, counter deadly drug abuse and promote safety and public trust. Together with our state and local partners, the Department will continue to do everything we can to protect the communities we all serve.”
“The Department of Justice is investing in community-based approaches to violence prevention, law enforcement health and wellness, Tribal courts, improved services for victims, research and data collection efforts, reentry programs and much more,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “The grants announced today further our commitment to working with our state, Tribal and local partners to increase public safety, build police-community trust, and ensure safe, healthy and just communities for all.”
“Every sector of our society — not only the justice system, but nonprofit and faith-based groups, local leaders, and advocates, and people with lived experience who serve as credible messengers — plays a critical role in ensuring public safety and public health,” said OJP Assistant Attorney General Amy L. Solomon. “The Office of Justice Programs is proud to make these substantial investments in building community infrastructure and supporting communities as co-producers of safety and justice.”
Grants will support five major community safety and justice priorities:
- Awards totaling more than $1 billion will promote safety and strengthen trust, helping communities tackle the proliferation of gun violence in America and restore bonds of trust between community residents and the justice system. Grants will support innovative and evidence-based strategies designed to prevent and reduce violent crime, support the health and safety of law enforcement and public safety professionals, promote rehabilitation and reentry success, and address the rise in hate crimes across the country.
- More than $437 million in grant awards will accelerate justice system reforms designed to achieve equal justice and fair treatment for all. Grants will expand access to services among historically underserved and marginalized communities, reduce counterproductive involvement in the justice system, increase opportunities for diversion and build pathways to treatment for people with substance use and mental health disorders.
- Over $192 million will improve the fairness and effectiveness of the juvenile justice system by supporting developmentally appropriate and culturally responsive interventions for youth. Funding will ensure that young people are served at home in their communities whenever possible, are equipped to transition to a healthy adulthood free of crime and are protected from violence and abuse.
- More than $1.7 billion will expand access to victim services by investing in programs that provide trauma-informed and culturally responsive services to victims. Funding will support thousands of local victim assistance programs across the country and victim compensation programs in every state and U.S. territory, while helping these programs build their capacity to reach those disproportionately affected by crime and victimization.
- Over $418 million in awards will advance science and innovation to strengthen the base of knowledge that policymakers and practitioners can use to design and deploy effective community safety strategies. Awards will support research and data collection on a wide range of public safety issues, help maintain timely and accurate criminal history records, and improve the capacity of crime labs and forensic analysts to solve crimes, absolve the innocent and deliver justice to victims.
In addition, OJP will award more than $611 million to continue its support of other previously funded programs and congressionally directed spending.